Victoria, BC (WNEWS)- The B.C. government has pledged to take action against record-breaking gas prices, however says that capping gas prices or freezing carbon tax increases are not going to be on the table for consideration. As of Friday, gasoline prices are expected to reach $2.00 a litre.
In a press conference held Thursday, by John Horgan, questions were asked about the soaring prices at the pumps. Horgan says the one-cent a litre increase is part of a federal carbon tax mandate.
On gas prices and carbon tax going up, Horgan says the one cent a litre increase is part of a federal mandate. #bcpoli
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, prices have increased sharply, and Russia – the world’s third-largest producer of oil – has come under economic sanctions from the United Kingdom and European Union, Canada and the United States among others.
Gas prices in Metro Vancouver are currently the highest in North America. The price as of Thursday is around 187.9 a litre at the Esso on 96 Ave and 191 St, according to GasBuddy.
The lowest price in B.C is in Farmington at Tempo station at 148.9 a litre. The lowest price in the Lower Mainland is the Esso in Agassiz at 168.9 a litre.
The cost increases have prompted some municipal and provincial politicians to urge the federal government to pause scheduled increases to its carbon tax.
Likewise, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has said he will “look into” a long-promised gas tax cut as the province’s New Democrats aim to introduce a bill that would regulate gas prices weekly.
There is legislation already in place in the province of New Brunswick that establishes the maximum price that retailers are permitted to charge for gas. As a normal rule, the maximum prices are set every week and the new price is effective on the following Thursday morning at 12:01 a.m.
According to Energy Minister Bruce Ralston, the province is not considering freezing a provincial carbon price increase scheduled for April 1, because he says there will be no savings at the pumps if it was frozen.
“The prices at the pumps are higher in Squamish, where they don’t pay the tax — are higher than they are in West Vancouver — because the gas retailers in Squamish are rushing in to scoop it for themselves,” Ralston said Wednesday.
“[Gas retailers] won’t give it back to the consumers. That is very clear.”
Previously, the BC Liberals pushed for the province to set a price cap in order to protect consumers, but Ralston says that at this time, that is also not on the table.
“For the government to step in to private market to set prices and fix prices is a major, major step. It could have unintended consequences. We don’t know what would happen if we did this,” he said. “The gas companies could turn around and dry up supply and drive prices even higher. It is really something that could be considered but I am not considering that right now.”
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